The new and improved Devi Vishwakumar!
Caution: Spoilers Ahead!
Never Have I Ever follows the journey of Indian-American teen Devi Vishwakumar (played by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) as she works towards getting into Princeton and navigating her love life. And, as the show wrapped up with its fourth and final season this summer, I’m glad to say that Devi’s somewhat chaotic life had the complete transformation we were all hoping for!
Over the course of her high school journey, Devi made many friends, some of whom turned into romantic partners and others who remained platonic companions. But, as a teenage girl who was still growing in many ways, Devi didn’t always treat her friends like she should have, especially in earlier seasons of the show.
For example, in Season 1, Devi hung out with Paxton (a boy she barely knew at the time) instead of supporting Eleanor when her mother abandoned her. And, remember when Devi spread a rumor that Aneesa had an eating disorder, all because Devi was jealous of her?
I know. Devi wasn’t a fantastic friend.
However, in later seasons, we start to see Devi act with more maturity and empathy towards her friends. In Season 4, Devi does get upset at Fab for applying and getting into Princeton (“Devi’s school.”) But, Devi soon realizes how misguided her anger is, apologizing to Fab and actively encouraging her to pursue her own aspirations wherever she sees fit. And, while sophomore-year Devi would have probably been upset at this, senior-year Devi chooses to attend prom with her day ones, Eleanor and Fab, instead of desperately trying to find a boy.
Speaking of boys, relationships played a large role in Devi’s high school life.
See, after her father’s passing, Devi aimed to elevate her high school status, specifically by attaining a love life. However, her goal soon turned into an obsession, fueling messy relationships and horrible decisions.
Perhaps one of the worst decisions she made was when she decided to date Ben and Paxton. AT THE SAME TIME. Yeah, her obsession made her a cheater. But, as she grew older and got involved in a few more relationships, she began to handle them more responsibly.
In Season 4, she dates her school’s bad boy, Ethan. But, after realizing that Ethan is rebellious to the point where he becomes a “bad person,” she clearly articulates her feelings and breaks up with him.
Family and Loss
Apart from high school, we see a lot of self-growth from Devi in regard to her family.
At the beginning of the series, as she copes with her father’s loss, we see her emotions of pain and sadness overwhelm the show (rightfully so). But, when Devi gets waitlisted from Princeton and is told to write a supplemental essay that highlights who she really is, it’s clear that she has already reached a major turning point. She decides to write the essay about her father, but rather than focusing on his traumatic death, she chooses to reflect on his life and how it shaped her into the young woman she is today.
And, with this shift in mentality, she becomes a lot more open to the idea of her mother (Nalini) finding her happy ending. In Season 2, Nalini started secretly dating her colleague, Dr. Jackson. When Devi learned about the two, she had a complete meltdown because she felt as if her father was “disappearing” from her life. But, in Season 4, Devi approaches Nalini’s dating life very differently. In fact, when she notices that Nalini has feelings for a guy, she doesn’t just support it. She sets the two up!
A satisfying finale
I’ll be honest here. When the first season of Never Have I Ever came out, many people (myself included) hated Devi’s character. After all, she consistently made rash decisions and created an unnecessary amount of drama in her life and others’ lives.
But, as the show progressed, I found myself truly appreciating her character. Sure, the show is a little cliché and still reinforces some stereotypes here and there, but Devi’s character is widely misunderstood. After all, high schoolers are still kids who sometimes make poor decisions. Devi made many poor decisions as we all know. But, Devi’s new and improved character really shines through in the final season. She’s kind, independent, and, most of all, mature. And, in my opinion, that’s the most satisfying ending we could have gotten from this series.